Sitting has been described as the new smoking and many people consider it to be more harmful to our bodies.Excessive sitting is associated with obesity and chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease.Sitting is a part of so many aspects of modern life. We sit at work, on the commute, in front of the TV. Even shopping can be done from the comfort of your chair or sofa. Poor diet and lack of exercise exacerbate the problem, the impact of which can go beyond physical health—anxiety, stress, and depression have been shown to increase from excessive sitting.
'Active workstation' is a term used to describe a desk that allows you to switch from the sitting position whenever you feel it necessary. Standing desks, desk converters, or treadmill desks are considered the best for ergonomics and productivity. Less ergonomically sound solutions include desk cycles, bike desks, and various DIY arrangements. The former have surged in popularity in recent years because they provide office workers with a reliable and sustainable solution for sitting disease by significantly cutting down the number of hours spent in a chair.
Research shows that active workstations have a positive impact on obesity, back pain, blood circulation, mental outlook, and productivity.Observational studies and surveys suggests that an active workstation can increase physical activity, improve health markers such as weight, blood glucose, and comforting levels, increase engagement, boost productivity, and contribute to worker happiness. The British Journal of Sports medicine guidelines recommend standing for 2-4 hours during the workday to reap the benefits from active workstations.
1. Solution to Obesity
Obesity is the top public health concern worldwide. According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, obesity-related illnesses cost hundreds of billions of dollars in medical expenses each year in the United States alone.5 And while public health obesity programs are numerous, adopting active workstations in corporate offices might be the most effective solution simply because they can be used easily every day.
Studies show that treadmill desks can be instrumental in obesity intervention because they increase daily energy expenditure.6 Walking helps regulate blood sugar levels in pre-diabetic individuals and improve other health markers like blood pressure and cholesterol.
An additional 100 calories expended per hour may result in weight loss of 44 to 66 lbs per year, provided that the energy balance is constant (this means you must consume less calories than you burn). Studies found that it only requires spending 2 to 3 hours a day walking on a treadmill at a speed of just 1.1 mph. This is a significant impact for overweight and obese workers.
2. Reduced Back Pain
Back pain is one of the most common reasons for missed work and low back pain is the single leading cause of disability worldwide, according to the American Chiropractic Association. Half of all American workers admit to experiencing back pain each year while statistics show that 80% of the population will suffer a back issue at some point in their life.
According to the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety, sitting for hours with bad posture can exacerbate low back pain because it impedes the blood flow and puts additional stress on the lumbar spine.9 With a standing desk, you can limit sitting time, stretch and limber up to promote blood circulation all while performing tasks such as answering a call, as well as improve your posture.
Standing and walking can also improve muscle balance by strengthening the muscles and ligaments in your lower body and increase bone density, resulting in strong and healthy bones.
3. Improved Blood Circulation
Blood circulation plays an important role in keeping body cells and vital organs healthy. As the heart pumps the blood through the circulatory system, it travels all across your body, removing waste and bringing oxygen and nutrients to every organ. Physical activity promotes and improves blood circulation which, in turn, helps the body maintain blood pressure and pH levels and stabilize body core temperature.
In practical terms, if you stand or better yet move you may experience increased alertness, stable blood pressure, and warmth in your hands and feet (cold extremities can be a sign of poor circulation).10 Note that poor blood circulation may also be a symptom of a serious disease such as diabetes or Raynaud's disease.
4. Positive Mental Outlook
Physical activity has been proven to have a positive effect not only on the body but also on the mind. Researchers found that workers who experience low focus, restlessness, and boredom at work report an increase in alertness, concentration, and general productivity when given a possibility to stand.
Surveys show that more than half of office workers dislike or even hate sitting all day. And although almost a third resort to web and social media surfing, more than half of surveyed workers prefer active breaks such as going to the bathroom, getting a drink or food, or talking to a colleague.
Sitting has also been found to increase anxiety and stress. One study even found a link between low physical activity and depression.Poor posture can contribute to an observed state called "screen apnea". Also known as shallow breathing, screen apnea sends your body into a constant 'fight or flight' mode, which can exacerbate anxiety and stress. Furthermore, good posture has been shown to alleviate mild to moderate depression, increase energy levels, reduce fear while performing a stressful task, and improve mood and self-esteem.
Exercise and increased overall physical activity are included in the most recognized health and wellness guidelines for a reason. They've been shown to reduce absenteeism, improve wellbeing, and help manage stress. 15 Physical inactivity can cause your blood pressure to rise, which can damage your blood vessels, heart, and kidneys as well as develop into chronic hypertension.
Scientific research supports the use of an active workstation. Standing workers report increased energy and satisfaction, improved mood, focus, and productivity. One study found that walking at a treadmill desk has a beneficial delayed effect on memory and attention. The subjects' attentiveness and memory have been shown to improve slightly after walking on a treadmill.
5. Increased Life Expectancy
It's well established that increased physical activity reduces the risk of developing chronic illnesses related to obesity like Type II diabetes, coronary heart disease, and metabolic syndrome. It's also been proven that staying active reduces the chance of heart attack, stroke, osteoporosis, and arthritis.
A number of studies suggest that there is a correlation between decreased sedentary time and increased life expectancy. In one study, the subjects whose sitting time was reduced to less than 3 hours a day lived two years longer than their sitting counterparts.
In addition, wellness research has proven that active workstations reduce the number of sick days among office workers, which also means that staying active at work may keep your overall healthcare costs down.
Post time: Sep-08-2021